I just attended the David Burns CBT Intensive training and feel incredibly rejuvenated and inspired. It was eye-opening to hear him share stories of clients who had endured 15-20 years or more of unsuccessful therapy and were transformed within a relatively short installment of cognitive therapy. CBT is sometimes perceived as lacking in the empathy and depth that is present in other therapeutic approaches; however, David Burns has developed a methodology that truly puts the client’s feelings and motivation level at the core of the therapy. The depth and profound insights emerge when the cognitive distortions are turned inside out and exposed to the client, or as David says, “brought into consciousness.” Many of these techniques are outlined in his recent book, When Panic Attacks.
I’m weary of therapies that lack adequate research behind them and that subtly blame the client or place too much emphasis on a client’s supposedly unchangeable “character structure.” One of the aspects of CBT that truly inspires me is the tenet that all clients are capable of achieving great change, and that such change can in fact occur in a shorter period of time than one might think. Can there be a more optimistic view of human nature?